Aside

Monday’s moon over Modoc County, taken just about 7 am. Not when I expected to see it.

For personal reasons, posting today isn’t going to work out.

And then I got all the ranting I wanted to do with my family—for once we were (nearly) all in the same room, so now it’s all out of my system. Which doesn’t leave much for me to talk about now.

I will say I’ve been getting some creative writing done: not much, but far more than I have in months. Maybe it’ll help with November.

Right this moment I’m watching NCIS. Yes, it’s your fairly stand police procedural drama, but it has humor and eccentric characters. I love it like woah*. And I remember telling my brother about how annoyed I was about the denial Tony fangirls have (like fangirls in many other fandoms) that he has any flaws whatsoever, and for some reason hate McGee. Since I think both characters’ best scenes are where they play off each other, I’m rather unforgiving of that attitude. So I ranted about it at my brother, and though he hasn’t watched nearly as much of the show as I have, he immediately came out with “but in the later seasons Tony adores McGee!”

He’s not a shipper. He’s not in fandom. It isn’t what he meant. However, it was hilariously appropriate because they totally have a big brother, little brother dynamic going on, and if you can’t take the snark, you should turn off the tv.

Which is why I love White Collar, they snark all over everywhere.

Oh look. For not wanting to talk about anything today, I sure found a lot to say. It’s a good thing I’m an introvert, or I’d never shut up.

 

*Misspelled deliberately, re: Urban Dictionary: “like woah”: an exclamation to add emphasis**

** woah: 2:“Woah, I have nothing better to do with my time than to look up the misspelled word ‘woah’.” ***

***I only first saw it today, so I’m using it too. And yes, I had to look it up.

 

And before I post, I just want to send my prayers to all the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

 

A Change in Times

I did not post yesterday.

That’s the first since I decided on daily posts that I missed, which is disappointing, if only to myself. Not because I was sick, I’m healthy enough, if still a little congested. Not because I was busy—this is still small, narrow-minded USA after all. (That’s a little unfair, after all I just heard about a twice-monthly writer’s meetup.) No, I just…didn’t make it. Remembered that I should post about 6 pm, and didn’t think of it again until a quarter after midnight.

It’s just as well, what with NaNoWriMo coming up. And funny too, because it’ll be Tuesday and Thursday posts.

But I would have rather announced the change in schedule, as a matter of discipline. Funny that the post about NaNo was the one to end on, before my unintended break. But with 1667 words a day for the month, the posts here would get even shorter and I’d have to entirely surrender my tl;dr byline. And I’d so hate to do that  I also have a few fan fiction stories I want to work on at the same time (because I’m nothing if not ambitious), so keeping up a coherent blog won’t be my priority.

Slowing down the schedule a bit has actually been the plan for a while. I may have managed posting every day, but I don’t feel they’ve been as strong as they were before. This will give me more time to come up with an idea and develop it properly, instead of simply pecking at the keyboard while trying to watch Restaurant Impossible or worse, the news. That way just dilutes my focus and gives me far too many things to talk about.

I’m trying to take it as seriously as the Multicultural Lit class, way back when, where every blog post counted for a grade. And I really don’t want to get too naval-gazing, it’s unpleasant for everyone.

Besides, I know I have plenty to say, and I keep posting bits and pieces of my ideas before they’re articulated, and only afterward do I realize what I actually wanted to say. Of course figuring out connections between unrelated posts after the fact can give me new ideas, but  I’d like to have more time to properly develop them. Get several drafts in, do some proper editing and arranging before hitting the publish button. Maybe I’ll be able to learn something. And if I actually understand what I’m talking about, maybe I can even teach something to others. Keeping up this blog would feel so much less self-indulgent.

For example, the post I promised weeks ago, regarding my thoughts on the uselessness of education as a thing. Suffice to say, while I may be willing to play the devil’s advocate in a philosophical, academic (heh) debate, trying to compose such an argument during a political campaign makes me supremely uncomfortable.

Especially as, just a day or so after I’d decided to write such a post, I had to visit my former university’s website to learn more about my program having been suspended. California had one of the best university systems in the world for years. The complete and utter degradation of the same is, in my mind, as near to the scale of the destruction of our own economy. There should be far more support higher education in this country and I cannot express my disappointment in how it’s been handled over the past few years. So. You can surely see why I don’t want make even the most theoretical comment on the topic. God forbid, someone would take me seriously, and I just don’t feel up to the discussion.

On the other hand, I’ve also been meaning to write a very mean review for City of Bones by Cassandra Clare on Goodreads. It’s a book with a large, devoted, less-than-rational fanbase. Don’t get me wrong, most people who like the series seem to be perfectly rational, intelligent people. Unfortunately, the vocal minority are, shall we say, less than a stellar representation of humanity. Like with TwilightHouse of Night, Fifty Shades of Grey heck, even Harry Potter, some of its greatest fans tend to make one question the value in humanity. Unlike Twilight however, while City of Bones drives me up the wall during the reading, it makes me less objectively angry. At least, that’s the case more than a year after I read the thing. At any rate, I look forward to getting my first trolls for that review, though it may be too long after publication and hype to get much attention. 

So. That’s the news. I’m writing this in a cafe a booth over from two nearly unsupervised boys who are getting more and more hyperactive. Starting next week, I’m only going to post on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and hopefully it’ll be a little more organized from here on out. Wish me luck!

Taken By Surprise

 

Good thing a few people posted about National Novel Writing Month today on Goodreads. Because my brain had refused to recognize that November is just a week away!

 

Honestly, I’m just a little terrified.

 

When I checked my author page on the NaNo website, I remembered that my idea for this year is essentially the same one I had last year. This year though, I’d like to not just start on time but to finish. I’m convinced it’s a good idea. See me confident I have the best idea ever. Totally, completely confident.

 

Yes.

 

Hee. Anyway, it is a story I can have fun with, one responding to tropes I’m familiar and sometimes uncomfortable with common in current literary trends, like I did in my one successful NaNo, in 2010. You know, when I was looking at my profile, I realized I started NaNoWriMo in 2007. Five years ago. I feel old.

 

But if I win, I can at least feel accomplished.

 

Also, the NaNo site links to their corporate sponsors, through which I found Yarny, my new favorite writing site. Now I know I’ve blogged about other writing sites, like Plinky, if you want prompts, Write or Die for timed challenges, or 750words.com, which is good for getting into a writing habit, but Yarny is fantastic for fiction. You write in snippets that can be grouped and also keep track of “people, places, and things” that are important to the story. Everything connected to one story is saved on one screen, so it’s like a different folder for every story.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pendants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin

 

It seems fairly intuitive, though I’m never quite sure I think like other people, and it’s a clean and simple layout. I only signed up for it today, and only the free version, but I think it’s by far my new favorite. I’ve already set up my novel for November, and started several stories that I keep thinking about writing without having started.

robot unicorn attack merino

I wish I had! *robot unicorn attack merino (Photo credit: lemonhalf)

Every once in a while, though I suppose it’s actually common now that I think about it, I have this … compulsion…no, call it emotion, to write. There’s a single, vivid image, visual, tactile, whatever and the only thing I want to do is get it down, shape it, say this thing that I know I want to say, have wanted to say without the words or without articulation, and suddenly it clarifies and all I want to do is write it down.

And I never do.

Oh, sometimes I’ll jot a note on a scrap of paper, or it’ll even make it into my journal (that was supposed to replace all the scraps of paper), but most of the time, the best way I can think to express myself is through fiction or poetry, and honestly, I’m frightened of both.

As with drawing, what I try to get down in paper never quite resembles what’s in my head. And I just don’t know how to get from there to here.

So Yarny gives me a chance to get all my ideas together, collect all the dots and not feel like I have to start at the beginning, but get out the image I have instead of what I think I ought to write. Because the linear nature of most word processing programs keep me from just starting. To arrange it as Yarny does would probably take me several different folders and many documents, and I know I’d lose track. Forgive me my gushing, but I’m just a bit giddy at how perfect Yarny’s setup is for my process.

Wish me luck! I really think I can do it this year.

“I really think I write about everyday life. I don’t think I’m quite as odd as others say I am. Life is intrinsically, well, boring and dangerous at the same time. At any given moment the floor may open up. Of course, it almost never does; that’s what makes it so boring.”

― Edward Gorey

 

The Dreaded Friendzone

So my brother was going to write this as a guest post on my blog, but we couldn’t figure it out.

I’d heard of “Nice Guy Syndrome,” where jerks pretend to be nice temporarily to get sex. My brother writes from the perspective of a guy who is nice, but bears the fallout.

PhluphfieBeard

Oh my goodness.

Have you ever been lead on? Lead on for months? Or years? And then suddenly, when you have an opportunity to take the lady out, she responds with; a) “you are just a friend,” b) “hey, can I invite (insert dude’s name here)?” or c) “actually, there’s this girl I wanted you to meet, I’ll invite her too!” ?

Everyone who has, say it with me. GAH!

Welcome to the Friendzone

Let me be specific. I’m an actual nice guy. I’m not a guy who has spent months pretending to be nice, just to sleep with a woman. I actually want a meaningful relationship with a gal who has similar interests. I even want to remain celibate until marriage (gasp).

There are reasons to friendzone someone, and I understand them (and even used those reasons).

My biggest complaint with the friendzone is when I approach someone as…

View original post 252 more words

An Unexpected Day Off

I called into work this morning to find out if I’d be coming in at noon again, and found out I could stay home. Well, the extra money might be missed, but at least I enjoyed the first snow day of the season.

In fact, by the time I woke up, the overnight snow still dusted the foothills, and it continued to snow off an on. Late morning, the wind came up, making me very glad for  insulation and double-paned windows. Hearing trees whip and the occasional apple blown into the siding was fun, but I can’t imagine the days when the cold would have slipped right through the window frame and eaves.

And there’s something about the weight of a snowstorm, with the wind and the mist, that not only makes me happy to stay inside, but have a productive inside day. Well, after I finished dawdling online—though I did get the three books I finished this weekend, unless you count Thursday, which would make it four.

reading mitt

If I hadn’t had to update the program, you could have seen the bread too! I ate it instead.

So I put on my finished reading mitts, and got into The Man from Beijing, which is…interesting, in a word: the prose is spare, and I imagine in Swedish, probably artless; but the social issues behind the plot are so simplistic, it’s making it hard to read. And yay! after clearing out the freezer, we found the yeast, and I made bread. Yes, homemade bread.

Well—strictly speaking, bread made from scratch, because I did use the bread machine. I have made homemade bread from scratch without that device, all the way from hand-kneading to oven. But with it’s “super rapid” setting, it finished in just two hours. I want.

Fresh bread, lemon-ginger tea with honey, internet, and a book, all while watching the snow fall from in front of the fire?  Best October-weather-change day ever!

Sick Days

Well, my brother finally finished his blog post on how the ‘nice guy syndrome’ is as bad for men as it is for women, but he’s disappeared again, and we never got him set up to post here.

Oh well. I’m sick, it started last night, although I didn’t recognize until after I’d posted. I knew subbing was dangerous.

And yet, it was a fairly productive day. I walked myself over to Rite Aid and found cold medicine—there are so many—and managed a reasonable budget for lunch. Still got my cookie though. I finished the first wrist warmer, though I haven’t yet started the second; I’ll cast on after finishing this post. And at work, after my boss left, a woman came in fundraising for an international student’s program and I got a very nice necklace and made a donation. My last roommate was an international student, too.That made me happy.

After I got home from work, I went on a nice long walk. Only half an hour, but considering I hadn’t expected to walk much at all, and had barely been able to focus at work, it went pretty well. It was sunset, with gold-edged clouds streaked across the sky, which meant most of the time I wasn’t walking with the sun in my eyes. Also, the sun just hit the mountain pass, leaving the rest of the range in shadow. The odometer has been a worthy investment.

Finished one of my books, too. And it was a library book, so I don’t have to worry about running out of time. It was Blackout, by Connie Willis, and a really interesting time-travel historical novel. Unfortunately it less ends than stops, because it’s part of a two-parter, and the second book isn’t offered by the digital library or the local library and I’m not sure I want to pay $11 for an ebook, and I don’t have any more room on my shelves.

Oh well. Even if I didn’t finish The Invention of Solitude in time for the book group, I enjoyed it, and it was worth buying. And we had some fantastic tangents in the discussion.

Meanwhile, I want to kill the rest of the time until my next allowed dosage by not thinking, as I have to do when writing, so I’m going to watch more White Collar and starting on that mitt. Something nice and simple but will keep my fingers busy. Let’s hope this cold doesn’t hang on.

Fun & Useful Websites

Commonplace book, detail

Commonplace book, detail (Photo credit: vlasta2)

 

Well, they’re websites like, anyway:

 

Wattpad Not new, and I don’t actually use it, so I’m not sure how much I like it. However, for writers, it seems to be a decent place to host your work. Not much of a fan of the navigation.

 

Plinky It’s not connecting to my blog here, so I haven’t been sharing what writing I was doing there; not that there’s been all that much, but they do have fun prompts (sometimes) and if you don’t like the one for the day, there are plenty of old ones.

 

 

Findings This, at the moment, is my favorite. In Chrome, at least, you can add it as an app, and every time you highlight text, you can add it directly to your profile. I keep adding good quotes from fan fiction, because there are some remarkably great lines out there. And not only do I love quotes, which it’s good for, but sometimes just one line can be inspiring, and being able to get it in-context, because they’re linked, it’s like the commonplace book of the modern age. Unfortunately, since they updated, they aren’t connected to the Kindle anymore, not that I have one, but they aren’t connected to the nook, either, which makes me sad. Why are these companies so possessive in illogical ways?

 

ImpishIdea Described in a web search as “Creative writing site with a flair for criticism and critique mixed with humor, and a penchant for self-improvement.” Which is too accurate for me to try and improve. I’m a member of the forums, where there is lots of good discussion: and where members can intelligently and rationally discuss politics, abortion, and religion. It’s like not even being online! If you aren’t much of a forum goer, the main website’s articles are fantastic, and there are many especially useful for writers. The sporks are funny without being cruel.

 

Goodreads Duh. Reading is good, therefore Goodreads!